Apr 23, 2014
We have had an orgy of eating from Easter Sunday lunch to a celebration for my birthday and other memorable meals in between. Fortunately we have not yet broken the scales and seem to be performing according to the 'French Paradox'. The French eat very well indeed but one does not see many obese French people, and that's the paradox.
On Easter Sunday we booked to return to the Auberge des Acacias in Courniou les Grottes. We like this place since it is typically French and the food is of a good standard. We chose to have Le Menu de Pacques. The entree was a salad with fois gras and shrimps followed by the most delicate rack of lamb that I have ever tasted; it was superb. We started with an aperitif and ordered a red wine that was excellent. All in all we had a very satisfying Easter Sunday lunch on a day that was otherwise raining and grey.
After a day of recovery we drove down to Beziers and onto Séte. Séte is a fishing port that has been developed beyond recognition. There are apartment buildings absolutely everywhere, each with balconies facing out to sea and beautiful people standing on them in their resort wear. It looks a bit like the Costa del Sol in Spain where development has gone wild. Eventually we got to the old port and the canal that runs from the sea through the old town. We parked underneath the canal and emerged right next to a few hundred crowded restaurants bordering the canal. We chose one and ordered a seafood salad knowing full well that we were going out to dinner that evening. However in France between 12.00 and 2.00 pm there's not much more to do than eat.
In the evening we met our friends in Mazamet and they drove us to Burlats where we had booked for an evening meal at Le Castel de Burlats. We had the most divine experience we have had in France. The food and the company was exquisite. We started with an aperitif which was accompanied by some 'mise en bouche' consisting of small pieces of toast, rillettes and a delicate mixture of a soft cheese with onion.
The menu then began with fois gras in a broth with legumes and was most delicate. For some reason Jenny has decided that she does not like fois gras which I think is her loss.
There was a choice of entrees but everyone chose a very special dish with 'morille' stuffed with lobster in a seafood broth. Nothing too much but just exquisite. The 'morille' is a very special mushroom which can be found in Brassac not far from Castres. I know I seem to be going over the top with praise but this dish was very special.
For main course we chose a risotto with monk fish cheeks. I have not had Monk fish before and it had a slightly tough consistency and of all the dishes this was the one that I liked least of all. That's not to say it wasn't superb; for me it just wasn't to the same high standard as the others.
The French will invariably have a dessert and it is the dessert that is usually the signature of the French chef. At Le Castel de Burlats the desserts were fantastic and too intricate and delicate to do them justice in a few words.
For me, Le Castel de Burlats was the brightest star of our stay in France. I don't want to mention the names of our friends in these pages since I don't want to expose their names on the web. However they are the ones who have made our stay in Mazamet such a wonderful experience not only for last night's dinner but for so much more.